Starring: Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Nathalie Emmanuel, John Cena, Charlize Theron, Sung Kang, Kurt Russell, Jordan’s Brewster, Helen Mirren, Shea Wiggum, JD Pardo, Lucas Black, Shad Moss
Directed By: Justin Lin
Where I Watched It; VOD (Apple)
English Audio Description Available?: Yes
The Plot: Family. But seriously, for the ninth entry in this franchise, Vin Diesel expertly gaslights you through an insanely improbable storyline, using a ton of flashbacks, to tie in a story and make it seem like it was always inevitable, and you just weren’t paying attention. Explaining the plot is a spoiler in itself, but it involves basically a direct follow up to the last film, with added heavy exposition, and even heavier flashbacks. And, yes, the plot of this film is family.
What Works: If you love this franchise, and just enjoy loud, fast, expensive set pieces, this film is still very much for you. The Fast gang continue to find ways of elevating each film to another level, and this one is no exception. Let’s just say, this film, and Moonraker have a similar improbable need to put individuals in space that don’t belong there.
John Cena is the big new flashy addition to the series, and predictably, despite some leaps in logic, he squeezes in quite well, like this franchise is trying to accumulate action stars. Perhaps the final film they’ll just rope in Schwarzenegger, Stallone, Van Damme, Li, Chan, Willis, and make it like the new Expendables.
Look, this section is designed to be mostly about what works. And to be honest, this film is so incredibly mind boggling at certain points that I find it hard to actually praise individual aspects of the film. It’s the most gaslighting I’ve ever felt from a sequel, and yet, I still somewhat enjoyed it. It feels like the weakest entry since the 4th film, but I’ll wait for the next section to get into that. Like I said, if you enjoy this series, you’ll probably still enjoy this film.
What Doesn’t Work: Good lord. Talk about a film, y’all. I had no idea. What crack was someone smoking? look, I actually have to, in part, give massive credit to the screenwriter as well as Justin Lin, for making this absurdity somewhat coherent. Yes, this film features a ton of flashbacks, a ton of exposition, and it wouldn’t work otherwise.
When you are the ninth film, and you basically attempt to rewrite the past eight films like they’ve all been some part of a preplanned universe that was always leading to this moment, and you just weren’t paying attention, there’s just going to be flashbacks and exposition galore.
Without that, we’d never be able to believe this missing integral character that has gone unmentioned until now, or explaining Dom’s past in such a way that you actually get that whole story explained back from the first film when the police captain coaching Brian warned him that he had a criminal record for almost beating a man to death.
It’s kind of amazing that they came up with this plot, which is insane, and found any possible way to rope it in. But, yeah, I gotta ding the bell here because it feels like there are more flashbacks in this one film than any other film.
And part of that comes with the resurrection of a character. So who knows who will be back for the final film, because after this film, anything and everything is on the table. I would not be surprised to see Paul Walker in the final film, even though I know he’s dead. But at this point, I’m convinced Vin Diesel is some sort of mastermind of either epic proportions, or criminally insane.
i look back at the first film, a simple enough film about planting a cop in the world of street racing to catch some simple little gang. Then I look at this film, where they build a literal rocket car and shoot some of the cast into outer space, and I wonder, was this really all preplanned? Probably not, but the gaslighting from this film is heavy. It’ll have you second guessing everything. Yet, they created a character out of nowhere, and brought back another we watched die. It literally makes no sense, yet somehow…they make it make sense.
Yes, bad writing exists. Everything having to do with the damn necklace. It was just so over referenced. look, I get it. That’s how you knew. But the sequence in which the significance is revealed is so poorly done. It’s like, here’s a necklace, look at the necklace, look at it, see how it has sentimental value? Now, look at it again. Where have we seen this before? Oh. There. Of course.
I can’t believe I’ve even tried to analyze this film this much. We’re talking about a film that in the 8th film revealed that Dom, back when he was hooking up with that other girl who wasn’t Letty, for reasons I still don’t understand, finds out he has a kid, right before the baby mama dies, so now in this movie he has a five year old named Brian that he’s raising with Letty. But, remember, this franchise boldly kept Paul Walker’s Brian alive, he’s just off with Mia, raising a family in peace. So, he named his son after his brother in law? Is that a thing? I know that they’re attempting to pull at our heartstrings because Paul Walker is no longer with us, but at least there’s this little kid named after his Fast and Furious character. But, why? in the film franchise, Brian is alive and well. So, Dom literally just named his son after his brother in law and best friend? Does that happen in real life? Couldn’t he just have been a godfather to the kid or something?
That’s what happens when you start really getting in to this plot. you can totally pick it apart. It is fundamentally one of the stupidest films I’ve seen in recent memory, yet despite that, I somehow enjoyed myself.
The Blind Perspective: The guy doing the audio description for this is on point. For a film so action driven, I never felt like I was missing out. He hit me with all the action packed moments, and I was able to follow the film fluidly. Plus, he just sounds like someone who should be doing audio description for action films. He’s a little gruff, serious, and means business. i feel like, there’s at least a 10% chance he’ll be roped in to the final film at this point. As “family”.
Final Thoughts: Possibly, the dumbest film in the franchise in terms of the actual plot and story structure, coupled with the giant leaps of logic we are asked to make, as well as heavy gaslighting to rewrite everything we know so Vin Diesel can have his own Marvel Cinematic Universe moment where it feels like there was always a master plan. But, when you really break it down, despite the best efforts from the writers and director, this film still just makes no real sense. Not that any of the films in this series actually do. S
Yet, I stand by what I said earlier. Even though i enjoyed this, inexplicably, and even though i know it’s stupid, taking everything into consideration, it is the worst film since the fourth entry in the franchise. Bringing back every possible character you could possibly think of aside from Dwayne Johnson still can’t make up for the fact that these characters still are put into a plot where they have to drive a car into space. I will never be able to get past that.
Final Grade: C